Disaster Rank by State
WEATHER PREPAREDNESS

FEMA “Major Disaster Declarations” Rank By State

Disaster Rank by State

Since 1953, 60 years of data reveal that there have been 2,115 “Major Disaster Declarations” in the United States according to government statistics listed by FEMA.

You may be surprised to discover the list of states that rank higher than the rest with regard to number of disasters once you factor in population and land area…

Once you divide the number of major disasters by land area, population, or both… the results may not be what you may have thought…

The logic that I’ve used to rank the states that are apparently most and least likely to suffer major disasters is simple, but interesting and telling nonetheless.

Just bear in mind that in order to determine more detailed rank than what is shown below, one would have to consider additional factors including severity and frequency of occurrence, economic impact, loss of life, and other data.

 

State Disaster Rank (overall)

(# disasters / population per million) x (# disasters / per thousand sq. miles)

This list uses the raw FEMA data (the list at the bottom) and then factors the state population and land area. The worst states (with higher probability to affect people based on the formula above) are listed first.

 

State Majority of disasters
1 Vermont Severe storms, Flooding   214
2 Delaware Hurricanes   125
3 Rhode Island Hurricanes   121
4 New Hampshire Severe storms, Flooding     82
5 Hawaii Severe storms, Flooding     80
6 West Virginia Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides     55
7 Maine Severe storms, Flooding     40
8 North Dakota Severe storms, Flooding     37
9 South Dakota Severe storms, Flooding     26
10 Oklahoma Severe stroms, Tornadoes     21
11 Connecticut Severe storms, Flooding     20
12 New Jersey Severe storms, Flooding     20
13 Arkansas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     19
14 Mississippi Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     19
15 Kentucky Severe storms, Flooding     18
16 Louisiana Severe storms, Hurricanes     18
17 Massachusetts Severe storms, Flooding     16
18 Nebraska Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     15
19 Iowa Severe storms, Flooding     14
20 Alabama Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     13
21 Kansas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     10
22 Tennessee Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     10
23 Maryland Hurricanes, Severe storms     10
24 Indiana Severe storms, Flooding       7
25 Missouri Severe storms, Flooding       7
26 Virginia Severe storms, Flooding       7
27 Minnesota Severe storms, Flooding       6
28 New York Severe storms, Flooding       5
29 Ohio Severe storms, Flooding       5
30 Washington Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides       5
31 Wisconsin Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding       4
32 Florida Hurricanes       4
33 Pennsylvania Severe storms, Flooding       4
34 Idaho Flooding       4
35 Illinois Severe storms, Flooding       4
36 Alaska Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides       4
37 North Carolina Hurricanes       3
38 Montana Severe storms, Flooding       3
39 New Mexico Severe storms, Flooding       2
40 Georgia Severe storms, Tornadoes       2
41 Oregon Severe storms, Flooding       2
42 South Carolina Hurricanes       2
43 Wyoming Severe storms, Flooding       1
44 Texas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes       1
45 Michigan Severe storms, Flooding       1
46 California Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides       1
47 Nevada Severe storms, Flooding       1
48 Arizona Severe storms, Flooding       1
49 Colorado Severe storms, Flooding       1
50 Utah Severe storms, Flooding       1

 

State Disaster Rank (per population)

(# disasters / population per million people)

This list factors only the population of each state while disregarding land area.

 

1 North Dakota Severe storms, Flooding   60
2 Vermont Severe storms, Flooding   57
3 Alaska Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides   54
4 South Dakota Severe storms, Flooding   50
5 Maine Severe storms, Flooding   31
6 West Virginia Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides   26
7 Nebraska Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding   25
8 New Hampshire Severe storms, Flooding   24
9 Montana Severe storms, Flooding   21
10 Oklahoma Severe stroms, Tornadoes   19
11 Arkansas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding   19
12 Hawaii Severe storms, Flooding   19
13 Mississippi Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding   17
14 Kansas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding   17
15 Delaware Hurricanes   17
16 Iowa Severe storms, Flooding   16
17 Wyoming Severe storms, Flooding   15
18 Idaho Flooding   14
19 Louisiana Severe storms, Hurricanes   13
20 Kentucky Severe storms, Flooding   13
21 New Mexico Severe storms, Flooding   12
22 Alabama Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding   12
23 Rhode Island Hurricanes   11
24 Minnesota Severe storms, Flooding     9
25 Missouri Severe storms, Flooding     9
26 Tennessee Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     8
27 Oregon Severe storms, Flooding     7
28 Washington Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides     7
29 Wisconsin Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     6
30 Indiana Severe storms, Flooding     6
31 Nevada Severe storms, Flooding     6
32 Virginia Severe storms, Flooding     6
33 Connecticut Severe storms, Flooding     5
34 Massachusetts Severe storms, Flooding     4
35 Ohio Severe storms, Flooding     4
36 North Carolina Hurricanes     4
37 Maryland Hurricanes, Severe storms     4
38 Illinois Severe storms, Flooding     4
39 New Jersey Severe storms, Flooding     4
40 Utah Severe storms, Flooding     4
41 Pennsylvania Severe storms, Flooding     4
42 Georgia Severe storms, Tornadoes     4
43 Arizona Severe storms, Flooding     4
44 Texas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes     3
45 New York Severe storms, Flooding     3
46 Florida Hurricanes     3
47 Colorado Severe storms, Flooding     3
48 South Carolina Hurricanes     3
49 Michigan Severe storms, Flooding     3
50 California Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides     2

 

State Disaster Rank (per square miles)

(# disasters / per 1,000 square miles)

This list factors only the land area of each state while disregarding population.

 

1 California Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides   11.0
2 Texas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes     7.5
3 Kansas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     5.0
4 New Mexico Severe storms, Flooding     4.3
5 Idaho Flooding     3.8
6 Alaska Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides     3.8
7 North Dakota Severe storms, Flooding     3.6
8 Montana Severe storms, Flooding     3.4
9 Iowa Severe storms, Flooding     2.4
10 Arizona Severe storms, Flooding     2.1
11 Alabama Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     1.4
12 Nebraska Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     1.4
13 South Dakota Severe storms, Flooding     1.4
14 Nevada Severe storms, Flooding     1.3
15 Michigan Severe storms, Flooding     1.2
16 Pennsylvania Severe storms, Flooding     1.2
17 Florida Hurricanes     1.2
18 North Carolina Hurricanes     1.1
19 Washington Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides     1.1
20 Illinois Severe storms, Flooding     1.1
21 Minnesota Severe storms, Flooding     1.1
22 Oregon Severe storms, Flooding     1.1
23 Louisiana Severe storms, Hurricanes     1.1
24 Utah Severe storms, Flooding     1.0
25 Ohio Severe storms, Flooding     0.9
26 Missouri Severe storms, Flooding     0.9
27 Virginia Severe storms, Flooding     0.8
28 Wisconsin Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     0.8
29 Mississippi Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     0.7
30 New York Severe storms, Flooding     0.7
31 Arkansas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     0.6
32 South Carolina Hurricanes     0.6
33 Oklahoma Severe stroms, Tornadoes     0.6
34 Colorado Severe storms, Flooding     0.6
35 Georgia Severe storms, Tornadoes     0.6
36 Wyoming Severe storms, Flooding     0.5
37 Maryland Hurricanes, Severe storms     0.5
38 New Jersey Severe storms, Flooding     0.5
39 Massachusetts Severe storms, Flooding     0.4
40 New Hampshire Severe storms, Flooding     0.3
41 West Virginia Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides     0.3
42 Tennessee Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding     0.3
43 Maine Severe storms, Flooding     0.2
44 Connecticut Severe storms, Flooding     0.2
45 Delaware Hurricanes     0.2
46 Hawaii Severe storms, Flooding     0.2
47 Indiana Severe storms, Flooding     0.1
48 Rhode Island Hurricanes     0.1
49 Vermont Severe storms, Flooding     0.1
50 Kentucky Severe storms, Flooding     0.1

 

FEMA raw data

(# disasters)

The number of major disasters listed by FEMA per state.

 

1 Texas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes 86
2 California Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides 78
3 Oklahoma Severe stroms, Tornadoes 74
4 New York Severe storms, Flooding 67
5 Florida Hurricanes 65
6 Louisiana Severe storms, Hurricanes 60
7 Alabama Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding 57
8 Kentucky Severe storms, Flooding 56
9 Arkansas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding 54
10 Missouri Severe storms, Flooding 53
11 Mississippi Severe storms, Flooding 52
12 Illinois Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding 52
13 Tennessee Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding 51
14 West Virginia Severe storms, Flooding 50
15 Minnesota Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides 50
16 Iowa Severe storms, Flooding 49
17 Kansas Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding 49
18 Pennsylvania Severe storms, Flooding 48
19 Nebraska Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding 47
20 Virginia Severe storms, Flooding 47
21 Ohio Severe storms, Flooding 47
22 Washington Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides 46
23 North Dakota Severe storms, Flooding 42
24 Maine Severe storms, Flooding 40
25 South Dakota Severe storms, Flooding 40
26 Indiana Hurricanes 40
27 North Carolina Severe storms, Flooding 40
28 Alaska Severe storms, Flooding, Landslides 38
29 Wisconsin Severe storms, Tornadoes 36
30 Georgia Severe storms, Tornadoes, Flooding 36
31 New Jersey Severe storms, Flooding 35
32 Vermont Severe storms, Flooding 34
33 New Hampshire Severe storms, Flooding 31
34 Massachusetts Severe storms, Flooding 29
35 Oregon Severe storms, Flooding 28
36 Hawaii Severe storms, Flooding 26
37 New Mexico Severe storms, Flooding 25
38 Michigan Severe storms, Flooding 25
39 Maryland Hurricanes, Severe storms 24
40 Idaho Severe storms, Flooding 23
41 Arizona Flooding 23
42 Montana Severe storms, Flooding 21
43 Connecticut Severe storms, Flooding 19
44 Nevada Severe storms, Flooding 17
45 Colorado Severe storms, Flooding 17
46 Delaware Hurricanes 15
47 South Carolina Hurricanes 15
48 Rhode Island Hurricanes 11
49 Utah Severe storms, Flooding 11
50 Wyoming Severe storms, Flooding 9

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7 Comments

  1. Interesting stuff Ken, thanks for posting. As a Floridian, I tend to look dies of Cat II or greater. Having ridden out five hurricanes of Cat II or greater, I have first hand experience when it comes to disasters. While Frances and Jeanne were nasty storms by their own right, they were mostly giant inconveniences, since they mostly twisted up aluminum porch and pool enclosures and peeled off roofs [apologies to those who lost more, but the lions share of damage from these two was markedly less than other storms].

    That said, Ivan, Andrew and Charley were nasty home wrecking nightmares that destroyed tens of bilions of dollars in property and took a number of lives.

    At this stage, having been through so many storms, a lot of us here are significantly more prepared than the average Joe Six Pack to endure the aftermath of large storms. While we appear to rank pretty low on several charts as regards disasters, when they happen here they are huge.

    All of us bear the full responsibility for our own survival. Contrary to popular belief, FEMA exists simply to provide a little help and basic emergency services. What used to be a good idea has morphed in to “Where’s my money card”? Why I caint’ get no hep up in here”?

    I would like to see a national preparedness campaign to educate and prepare folks to lift their own dumb asses up in the event of power outage, roof damage from storms and the like. The storm in the north east recently was a huge wake-up call for people. I was dumbfounded at how ill prepared they were to withstand simple power outages and gas shortages. They ahd ten days warning yet still panicked the day or two before the storm and then cried about “Someone should go to jail for this” and “The government should make sure there is enough gas for everyone after a storm”.

    I am not sure when it became the providence of the government to guarantee the supply of anything, but the screaming out of the north east was pretty loudly demanding it.

    I say get yourself ready and prepare in advance, because you are the only one charged with insuring that you have what you need. The government is not responsible to make sure you have a full tank of gas, you are.

  2. Live in Mississippi,have been a preparer for a long time,but especially after Katrina.We went without power for 4 weeks,luckily we had a generator,and could cook,and have AC,because it was very hot and humid after the hurricane,we also watched the local news to keep up with local events.It was a hard time but times can and will get harder,I feel for those folks in Moore Oklahoma,bad losing family and your homes.Just prepare with some disaster supplies to help you make it through,because you never know.Keep your powder dry.

  3. I don’t know where the above data came form but I question the stats. As a former FEMA DAE I worked 54 disasters over a period of 11 years. In three years alone the state of MO had more disasters than listed. I really question IA’s figures also.

  4. I question any result that has California with only one “disaster”. Between earthquakes, mud slides, tornadoes, and wild fires that is one dangerous place to live.

    1. @Novice, California has had 78 “Major Disasters” according to the FEMA data (at the bottom of the article). Not sure where you came up with “one”.

      I believe you may have overlooked the formula for the first table, which is, (# disasters / population per million) x (# disasters / per thousand sq. miles), which was used to acquire a ranking that related to population and the square miles of each state.

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